On Tue, 2010-06-15 at 13:02 -0400, HallMarc Websites wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ashley Sheridan [mailto:a...@ashleysheridan.co.uk] 
> Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 10:52 AM
> To: Dotan Cohen
> Cc: HallMarc Websites; David Mehler; php-general
> Subject: Re: [PHP] protecting email addresses on a web site
> On Mon, 2010-06-14 at 17:50 +0300, Dotan Cohen wrote:
> > On 14 June 2010 15:36, HallMarc Websites <sa...@hallmarcwebsites.com>
> wrote:
> > > Another is a CSS solution where you type the email address backwards and
> > > then use the CSS style declaration:
> > > style="direction: rtl; unicode-bidi: bidi-override;"
> > >
> > 
> > How does that work with screen readers? How about copy-paste?
> > 
> I don't think there's an accessible way of doing this. Anything that
> allows a screen reader to speak the email address would also be
> susceptible to spammers email scrapers.
> Thanks,
> Ash
> http://www.ashleysheridan.co.uk
> Copy-n-paste just gives you the email address backwards; screen readers,
> because we are using logical ordering and it is stored in memory the way we
> expect to read it, will read it correctly. 
> I was not aware that email harvesters used screen readers. Do you have some
> documentation I could read to get up to speed on this?
> Marc Hall
> HallMarc Websites
> So many spammers, so few bullets... 
> __________ Information from ESET Smart Security, version of virus signature
> database 5199 (20100615) __________
> The message was checked by ESET Smart Security.
> http://www.eset.com

I didn't say the harvesters used screen readers. I'm saying that if
something is in plain text that a screen reader can understand, what's
to stop an email address harvester? It's not worth their time to analyse
every image (think about where Google is with image searching right now,
and they have a lot more resources at their disposal) but it is easy
enough to read text in a web page. At a push, it's possible to believe
that some might be using rendered CSS to see how an email is rendered.

Thing is, it's nigh on impossible to hide an email address. Use it once
on a mailing list like this and it's there for the whole world to see on
archive listings. I even though that my email wouldn't be found in
a .pdf CV I'd made, but thanks to Google it is now!

Basically, it might not be worth the effort to hide email addresses, and
instead see about setting up spam filtering at the server level. You
don't have to download and filter it your end, and it saves on


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